This project worked around the idea of a Russian Matroyshka doll and what they mean. Two ideas became prominent from it, one was the idea that she was fertility, a doll carved to be filled with her children and that spawned the idea of Mavis. As well as being an ultimate symbol of reproductive womanliness the shape of a Russian doll is also very phallic. this led me to consider the ideas of fertility symbols through time and how they were often designed to bring elements of both genders to the front in the hope of creating life.
Mavis was cast in many layers of wax using particular oils related to fertility through many pagan ideas, she also contained the ashes of a couple I know who were experiencing fertility issues. She was very much a spiritual experiment for me. She was hand carved in a simplistic manner because if you look through time at fertility symbols often the details are very unimportant on a fertility sculpture, the attributes of fertility such as breasts and hips rating far above any kind of personality detailing such as a face. That said I did feel that it was important to give the sculpture a face and an identity, perhaps a simple nod to feminist society but a nod I felt important. Rather than containing her children within her I chose to cast small shapes and leave them undefined as we are originally, without the Lacanian influence of language. Expressing the potential of what we could be, rather than what we are pre-destined by society to be.
The second side to this particular project was the idea of femininity being wrapped up in the symbol of fertility. Within that I wanted to explore some of the physical representations of a woman and fashion in a very simplistic way. I cast a plaster mold of the doll herself and carved representations of a female in to that cast. Each time I created an image I photographed it before scraping it away to leave the next “generation” blank to be re carved. Each generation coming from the remnants of the one that ran before it as in genealogy and as in the strength of women in a feminist structure though society. the dust of each “generation” was saved and displayed as part of the exhibit, much like we save the ashes of loved ones or perhaps just cling to the memories. I felt it was important whilst doing these carvings to maintain some of the traditional dolls features so the facial elements remain constant throughout the work. Perhaps as recognition to the doll and the start of the process but also as a reminder than we come from the same genes as the females that come before us and after us, a similarity that is passed through generations and is often recognised by society facially.